Nip/Tuck – still relevant 8 years on?

Ryan Murphy may be better known today as the man behind Glee, but it’s Nip/Tuck that will forever be my favourite.

FX in the UK is currently re-running each series back-to-back after midnight each weeknight, so set your Sky+!  I haven’t watched the series since they first aired on Channel 4, I was expecting it to seem dated, but it still remains very modern and topical.  It may be 8 years since the show began, but western society is still image obsessed, people want to look younger, thinner and more like their favourite celebrity. “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself?” sets the scene each episode.

Murphy often pushes the show to ludicrous levels – I had forgotten about the Carver storyline and I’ve still got the Rosie O’Donnell and Larry Hagman guest appearances to come!

But it’s the Christian/Sean/Julia dynamic that keeps me coming back.  I think Julia would ideally like a combination of Sean’s intelligence and strong sense of family (although he veers off that path a few times!) with Christian’s masculinity, confidence and occasionally touching vulnerability.  The casting of Julian McMahon, Dylan Walsh and Joely Richardson is perfect for these characters and I couldn’t imagine anyone else in these parts.

Matt is an intriguing character, even if he does appear to be miscast as a teenager in the early seasons as he seems quite a bit older!  There’s the relationship with Eva, the explosive relationship he has with his parents and Christian – not just your typical grumpy teen.

The FX re-run is currently in the early stages of Season 3, so I’ve a fair bit to go to catch up.  Nip/Tuck seemed to disappear off of terrestrial a few years ago, and I haven’t seen the final season or two – will McNamara/Troy have reinvented itself or closed down, I’ll just have to wait and see!


CNN International, a watered-down world perspective

Over the past few years I’ve regularly switched over to CNN International to get an American perspective on US and world events.  I became a regular viewer of Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room during the US election campaign as it took me far closer to the action than the BBC, Sky or Channel 4 News ever could.  I tuned in at 11pm GMT for my regular fix of news direct from the USA.  It should be noted that I’m Scottish, not American so I was actively looking for the American perspective on events.

Recently, I’ve been looking for the Situation Room on CNN International, and during UK waking hours all that’s ever listed is ‘World Report,’ followed by ‘World Sport,’ followed by ‘World Business’.  These shows are broadcast from CNN studios in Hong Kong, the Middle East or London with presenters from Australia, the UK, the Far East but very rarely the USA itself.  When I tune in to CNN I’m looking for an American view on the news, just as when I tune into the BBC I’m looking for a British perspective.  France24 exists to provide news from a French perspective and does so very effectively, but without watering down local French content.  CNN International seems to be trying hard to present news to a target audience that doesn’t appear to exist.

CNN International - who is the target audience?

I’d be interested to find out who CNN International is actually aimed at and also to get the opinions of ex-patriot American’s on their most famous news channel.  I think CNN International is trying to be all things to all people and as a result ends up satisfying very few.

I miss the Situation Room, I believe it’s now been relegated to a 2am GMT, which is little use to anyone in the UK!  Unless there’s a serious, global breaking news story, I find CNN International of very little use now, which is a great pity.

The Wire – Where next for TV drama?

I’ve been gripped by The Wire since Christmas having required something special to fill the televisual void that is Australian television.

The Wire has not let me down.  This is the single most intelligent drama series I’ve ever seen.  I’m astonished that it is only now, seven years after is was first aired on HBO that the BBC have finally picked up on it.

The Wire is something different.  I’ve tried to describe it to people who know nothing about it and it ends up sounding like another cop show – but it’s so much more than that.  It doesn’t insult the intelligence of it’s viewers, it respects them.  The characterisation is  complex, deep and sometimes troubling – just look at Season 4 and the different paths the kid’s lives took.

The dedication of the show’s creator David Simon to present a realistic portrait of modern urban America has to be admired.  His writing team includes ex-police and Baltimore journalists, without whom we would have had a very differnt show.

The team on The Wire – cast, crew and writers – have raised the bar in TV drama to a new and high level.  So what next?  I do not think we will see a show of this calibre for some time, but I hope we will.

I’m now on the final season and I’m dreading the very prospect of it ending, my life will have a gaping Bunk-sized hole!